Men's Basketball

    Previewing No. 2/2 Indiana at No. 7/8 Michigan

    Go Hoosiers! Cody Zeller
    Go Hoosiers!
    Cody Zeller
    Go Hoosiers!

    March 9, 2013

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Head Coach Tom Crean, Associate Head Coach Tim Buckley, Cody Zeller, Jordan Hulls and Victor Oladipo talked about Sunday's game at Michigan, the regular season finale for both teams. Below is a partial transcript of what each had to say.

    Head Coach Tom Crean

    On the keys to Sunday's game:
    "There is no question on the defensive end it starts with the ball-screen defense. There is no question about that because they utilize it so much. So many things that happen inside of a possession with them either begin or end with a ball screen, or both, so you have to do a great job there.

    "But the other thing is, they are a very well-balanced team. You cannot ever get away from what Trey Burke does as well as what Tim Hardaway, Jr. does. Sometimes it is astonishing to me the lack of attention that young man gets. He has been such an integral part of bringing their program back to where it is. He is a very dangerous opponent because he does things on both ends of the court. You can't let him get going and Nik Stauskas is shooting the ball at a very high rate.

    "To stay on the topic of your question, we have to go in there and defend the 3-point field goal, ball screen defense and the thing that is big for us is rebounding. When we have played really well we have been very good at it and in two of the last three games we haven't been as good. We can't give extended possessions to them or extra possessions.

    "Offensively, we have to make sure that our foot is on the gas pedal, we really do. At times the other night against Ohio State, we didn't keep our foot on the gas pedal like we needed to, especially after they scored. We had been very good at coming right back at them after they score, especially on the road. And we didn't do it well enough the other night.



    "We have to be very diligent in the half court. We have had someone, on the scout team, just sliding around the court looking for anyone that they can draw a charge on. Whether it's sliding under them, getting under them or falling early because that's what we are going to deal with. It is what it is. They really had to see it on film to know what we were talking about. There are always little games within the game. We have to slide, we have to make the next pass, take the pull-up jump shot. We want to play fast, but we don't need to be in a situation where people are sliding into us and all of a sudden the whistle blows and we didn't think they were going to do it. Those types of things are important."

    On how the team has moved forward in practice after Tuesday's game:
    "We have practiced very well. There is a sense of urgency. Not just because we lost or we are playing Michigan, because they know we can play better. That is really what it is. They have always been good with it.

    On whether he is worried about physical fatigue setting in:
    "No, not physical fatigue. And if you saw our practices you would agree with what I'm saying. I look at it this way with our team right now. We are not having as bad of stretches as we are having some "pockets" that aren't so good. `Stretches' are like ruts that you can't get out of. We really haven't been in that situation. There have just been some pockets. Because the teams are so good in this league, plays get magnified...

    "You are never going to play great because the other team has something to do with that. There is no question that the mental fatigue of it kicks in and everyone goes through it. The word `grind' is overused a lot of times and misunderstood. There is a lot that goes into this. These guys have worked so hard to be in this position. We have talked for many years about cutting down nets and the symbolism of that. They have worked so hard through this body of work to get to this point. That's the reason we did it the other night and not at practice. They have earned it. You want them to understand it. No one was happy or excited ... I get all of that. But the symbolism is you are always taking steps and always moving forward. That was a step to get to that point. But now we can't sit back on it. It is all about continuing to go. You have to keep the game fresh.

    "Our guys spend a lot of extra time in the gym. With that being said, we don't have to practice as long. We started tapering practice back staring in mid-January, far earlier than I ever have before."

    On having two finalists for the Wooden Award:
    "That says a lot because the program has continued to grow. Each of those guys has had their own growth, just like everyone else on the team. One came in with a lot of attention and has only gotten better as the attention has increased when you look at the way his offseason was.

    "And the other one (Oladipo) was not getting any of that attention whatsoever, he wasn't even on the list earlier this season. He worked his way onto it. I would hope that would speak volumes about the program. If you come in here and really get after it, absorb it and spend that extra time on it. And if you put your academics in a high place along with being a great teammate in a serious place. If you have a strong personality and embrace it, you can do a lot of great things here. I think that says a lot."

    On what Trey Burke has been doing in recent games to take it to another level:
    "He is reading the different things he sees in the ball screens so well. A great example for him: it's close to the end of the first half in our game here earlier this year. We have Will Sheehey on him, who is one of the more stellar defenders around, and he is up into (Burke). The shot clock winds down and Burke takes that step-back bomb 3-pointer at the end of the half. Could Will have gotten his hand up a just a little bit quicker? Yeah, but there is a height difference there (in Sheehey's advantage). But if you give Burke a little bit of space, he is good enough to make those plays. That continues to go on. Everybody has their ebbs and flows of the season, every player and team. What I see on film from him is that he continues to play with a high level of confidence. He is never afraid to take the big shot or make the play that he needs to make."

    On what Michigan does that makes them so tough at Crisler Center:
    "Their crowd is pretty good. Ever since they moved the students down (closer to the court) like the do at Michigan State, it has been a pretty tough environment since I have been back in the Big Ten. Michigan State had been pretty tough at home and had not lost to Indiana (in East Lansing) since before most of the guys on our team were born. Every day is a new day. I think we will play with a lot of energy there. It will be a great environment and will be hostile and our guys have done pretty well with that. Everybody is ready to go, I know I am personally, and I think they are too."

    Tim Buckley, Associate Head Coach

    On any common threads in the last two losses:
    "Watching a lot of Big Ten games as you prepare for conference games, there are winning moments in every game. And I think that being able to make those plays at those times show which team ends up winning and which team ends up on the short end. In the majority of our games in the Big Ten, we've been able to make those plays when it was time to make them and in these last couple, we haven't been able to do that. When you play against really good teams and really good talent, it's hard to overcome that when you make a mistake and you aren't able to capitalize on the other end."

    On how the grind of the Big Ten prepares the team for the postseason:
    "I don't think look at it as a grind at all. All of the arenas are full. There's a lot of pageantry, a lot of excitement, you get the best against the best. The teams that are really desperate are playing at a high level and that's what you want to compete against. You don't want anyone to be down. You want to play them when they are at their best, because when you beat them or you have the opportunity to beat them, you feel really good about how you're playing. I would say that the game will probably be more freer, if that makes any sense, in the NCAA Tournament or the postseason because there isn't the same kind of familiarity. When you get into league play, no matter what league it is, everybody knows what you're going to do and how you're going to do it and I think you have to have a different bag of tricks sometimes to win those games or make those plays. People are very good in this league at preparation carrying out that preparation."

    On the team doing a good job of bouncing back after losses:
    "We don't bounce back, we move forward. That's been our theme and that's what we're going to continue to do. I think our team recognizes when we don't play to our abilities and when we come back in the next day - whether it's a win or a loss - we feel like that's a good day to improve. One of things that Coach (Tom Crean) does a terrific job of throughout the season is focusing on the fundamentals of the game throughout the year as well as the individual improvement, and there's always some of that in our practice plan. I would say that our intensity and our talk was very good that past few days in practice, which it needed to get better anyway, but that was probably more of a marked improvement on anything that I've seen in the last week or so."

    On the keys to beating Michigan for a second time:

    "We've got to take care of the basketball. We've got to get stops and we've got to get rebounds. We've got to do a really good job in transition. They are a team a lot like us that on a missed shot or a turnover, they can turn that into a basket on the other end of the floor. And when I talk about transition defense, I don't just mean that you've got to get your point guard back and then you're set, you've got to get all five guys back because you've got to stop them from going down hill and they are a team that changes ends of the floor very quickly."

    On Mitch McGary the first time IU faced Michigan to his development to now:
    "He was a very highly ranked player coming in, so you knew that he had some abilities. He probably had more opportunities and he needed to expand his role a little more because of Jordan Morgan wasn't full go, and I think Jordan only went two minutes against us when they were here. So I think it gave him an opportunity to play to his abilities and I'm sure they talked with him about expecting more from him in the games and he had probably been showing them that in practice, which gave them confidence to go ahead and let them play."

    On Trey Burke over the last few games:
    "I think he's a really good player. He came to Michigan as a really good player. I think he's continued to develop and grow. I would say the one are that he's as good at as anyone is that he kind of sees the floor and he anticipates very well as to what the next play should be and that's why he has the ball in his hands quite a bit because he makes pretty good decisions and he can also make good shots, and he can make tough shots. If you watch all of his shots, it's not like they are wide open. Sometimes he has to create space with a step-back or he has to cross you over to get an angle - those types of things. He's a very good player who is very aware out there on the floor."

    Victor Oladipo

    On Michigan improving over the last few games:
    "They've just gotten better in every aspect. Trey (Burke) is doing a great job. They always have five people on the floor that can affect the game and change the momentum of a game and score the basketball, as well. We're going to have to ready to play on both ends of the floor, especially on defense."

    On what the team did well the first time against Michigan:
    "I think we did a good job of defending. We didn't do a great job of not turning the ball over. I think that's a big thing that we definitely need to work on going into this next game is taking care of the ball and defending at a high level. I think when we do that, we are capable of winning at a high level. We just need to get back to what got us here and what got us in this position. When we do that and play together, we'll be successful."

    On Trey Burke's performance over the last few games:
    "He's taking over games. I believe vs. Purdue, a couple days ago, they were down and he basically took over the game at the end of the game. He's just doing a great job of leading the team. Everyone knows that he's a great player and we're going to need to stop him in order to win."

    Jordan Hulls

    On getting back to playing in sync:
    "Just play the way that we know we're capable of playing - moving the basketball, playing defense, getting stops, let that create our offense and create our own energy, be unselfish and hit shots."

    On the common denominators in the last two losses:
    "We weren't hitting as many shots. We were a little stagnant. Our defense wasn't as good. There are lots of different things that we can always get better at, but we're past those games and we're trying to learn from them and focus on the game with Michigan."

    On controlling their own destiny and getting the outright title with a win:
    "You want to win it outright instead of sharing it, so that's why we are focused on this game. If we do the things that we know we're capable of doing - we've been pretty good this year on the road, but we have to bring our defense, play unselfish and move the basketball."

    Cody Zeller

    On how the physicality of the season has prepared them for the postseason:
    "I think for our team, our coaches, our strength and conditioning coaches, our staff does a really nice job of keeping our bodies where we were at, even earlier this season. I think we'll be all right. It is tough, but I think it does prepare you well just because we've been playing the best teams in the country all year. Once we do get the NCAA Tournament, we won't be shocked, it'll just be another game for us because we've been playing teams like that all year."

    On if there were signs of fatigue in the team over the last three games:
    "I don't think so personally. We haven't been playing as well, but we're definitely capable of it. I don't feel like its fatigue or anything like that. We just have to get back to the things that we were doing that make us successful, which is rebounding and playing defense."

    On what makes Michigan successful at home:
    "It's tough to win on the road, especially in the Big Ten. You are playing in a hostile environment and it carries a lot of different aspects, so you have to come out with a lot of energy. We've got a mature group of guys that have been through it before, so I think we can deal with it a little bit better."


      Check back soon
      Indiana Sports Properties